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Meet The Two Stuart Women Behind Crunchi, An Organic Makeup Brand

When Melanie Petschke and Kelly Weston launched Crunchi, an organic makeup and skin care company, in 2016, the entire operation was run out of Weston’s home in Stuart. Three years later, their dream to revolutionize the beauty industry with a line of high-performance, safe and toxin-free products has become a reality. Today, they run a 5,000-square-foot office and facility with 25 employees. They also manage more than 1,300 brand ambassadors around the country.

“When we first launched, we had a handful of products, including lip gloss, brushes and concealer, and they took off like wildfire,” Weston says.

They knew there was a need for safe and transparent cosmetics companies, but Weston says they didn’t realize how big that need was.

“We’re challenging mainstream, conventional cosmetic companies that use ingredients we’d never allow in our products,” Petschke says. “It’s a long process, but with each product release, it’s more gratifying.”

What does it mean when you say Crunchi is clean and toxin-free?

W: Because of a lack of regulation, the United States Food and Drug Administration allows cosmetic companies to use toxic chemicals known to be harmful in their products. As a result, chemicals linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity and many other health concerns are hidden in the cosmetics women are using on their bodies every day. We at Crunchi have set a new standard for cosmetic safety so you no longer have to compromise your beauty for your health, or your health for your beauty.

How did you two come together to create Crunchi?

P: I’m a family nurse practitioner, and at the time, Kelly was a pharmaceutical representative. We had both just moved to the area and we both had two-year-old children and were pregnant with our second. We had a lot in common, including both of us trying to make cleaner choices for our family. What we slowly started to learn was our choices went far beyond what kind of food we were eating. What we really struggled with was cosmetics, and at one point, we thought we found a brand that would solve the problem—until we realized we were duped by greenwashing.

What sets Crunchi apart from other clean beauty brands?

W: We search high and low for manufacturers who are willing to work with our high standards. We have two landmarks we’re trying to achieve: Safety in terms of ingredients and overall performance, which means we set out to create products that actually work. That’s why development takes such a long time for us. It’s easy to make a product that’s safe but doesn’t really perform. Just try the many foundations out there that are cakey and chalky.

What are “blacklisted ingredients”?

P: The challenge with having a blacklist is there are hundreds of thousands of chemicals that companies can use in products. It’s impossible to list them all. On our list, we try to label the heavy hitters that are most commonly seen in conventional products that have some sort of research on their harmful effects, be it evidence of endocrine disruption or carcinogenic properties.

What’s your advice to anyone who wants to live a cleaner life?

P: It’s extremely overwhelming to think you need a Ph.D. or a medical degree to go shopping for your family, but it’s important to remember that this is a journey. There’s no right or wrong way to take it. Look at your body as a whole and think about the accumulation of all the environmental factors at play. There’s so much we can’t control, like the pesticides on the lawn where our kids play or the air we breathe outside. What you can do is control what you bring into your home, the food you eat and what you put on your body.

What’s next for Crunchi?

W: We’re really focusing on product development across all fields, from cosmetics to overall body care like soaps and deodorants. First up on our list is a body bar soap that’s detoxifying, exfoliating. We’re also moving away from using plastic as packaging because it’s both harmful to our body and the environment.